HUD No. 05-094
Contact: Donna White
July 7, 2005
HUD ASSUMES CONTROL OF DETROIT HOUSING COMMISSION TO RESTORE PUBLIC CONFIDENCE IN AGENCY
HUD public housing expert appointed to oversee operations
DETROIT - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson today joined Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to announce HUD's agreement to take over the operations at the Detroit Housing Commission (DHC). By assuming control of DHC, HUD will restore public confidence and accountability to the long-troubled housing agency.
Citing 10 years of neglect, Kilpatrick and Jackson signed a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement to address serious administrative, financial and management concerns at the Commission. HUD will lead the effort to help get DHC back on track.
"Mayor Kilpatrick has been working with HUD to be the city's partner in addressing the shortcomings of Detroit's housing department," said Jackson during a press conference at the Cadillac Power Building. "I respect the mayor's commitment to the city and its public housing residents."
"It is out of concern for you - the residents - that Secretary Jackson and I are here today," Kilpatrick said. "The problems that plague our Housing Commission did not occur overnight. In 1992, HUD called us the worst housing agency in the nation. Despite our efforts, we are not where we should be. HUD can help put us on the path to recovery."
"This unique partnership will give local residents a housing department that is attentive to their needs and will work diligently to get the three long-stalled Hope VI developments and the city's revitalization efforts back on track, " Jackson explained.
Jackson also named Lindsey Reames, a 16-year HUD veteran, as recovery administrator to work directly with DHC management staff. Reames will oversee day-to-day operations to ensure residents will continue receiving services. The DHC board will remain in an advisory role.
Under the partnership agreement, HUD will first develop a detailed action plan to stabilize the Commission's operations. The second step will be to focus attention on specific problems HUD identified in a comprehensive review of the agency's operations.
For example, HUD found a large number of job openings throughout the Commission that are preventing acceptable performance in critical areas, such as maintenance, occupancy and Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8) Offices. In addition, HUD found that many of DHC's programs, including its public housing, Section 8 and HOPE VI programs, are at performance levels that designate them as "troubled."
Reames, who will begin her official duties with the Commission on July 19 th, has served in numerous management positions in HUD's Office of Public and Indian Housing. As a field oversight manager based in Grand Rapids, Reames facilitates interaction between the HUD field office and housing authorities in 15 cities.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.